As hard as parents try.....college students today more than any other time in history, are more at risk of using drugs than ever before. Exposure through the media and the growing epidemic in American culture of prescription pill and methamphetamine use to the creative ways to experiment such as candy soaked in Vodka, to new the highs of synthetic drugs and bath salts are all evidence of this risk. The rise of this culture has almost made the consumption of alcohol the lesser of two evils in many peoples eyes. Take a good look at binge drinking behavior and college students you will be reminded not to stray n this direction!
So what is a parent to do? How do you prepare your child for these very real and expected challenges that they will inevitably be faced with? The typical adult response is to restrict access or exposure to these situations. You might want to consider something different as this approach obviously has not been effective as seen by the epidemic death rates in recent years of prescription drug deaths and related problems associated with binge drinking.
First , from a young age it is important to be direct and give accurate information about substance abuse. Secondly, we know that young people who are college age are developmentally looking for power and are willing to take risks. Most have a desire for purpose in their lives and are seeking a sense of belonging. Stress during this time brings the desire to escape difficult situations even if momentarily.
To avoid the easy migration towards college age substance abuse,consider doing the following for your child when addressing the issues and needs above:
Our purpose as caregivers is not to rein our young adults in, (although they need healthy expectations and consistent boundaries) but to nurture them to choose more opportunities and healthy options. Young people who have a strong family, a strong community of friends and adults who are invested in them and have a strong faith in who they are and who they want to be, will be the best equipped to deal with the dangers inherent in the current drug culture in America.
Remember …”It’s Our Community It’s Our Responsibility”….together we can make a difference in raising today’s college student.
Lori Gates-Addison, LCSW, PS